SHYNE: I think we sayin’ the same thing. The unappreciativeness of the art and if you don’t appreciate the art, you ain’t gon’ go hard.
VANESSA: The art could be street or the art could be soft, the art could be hipster, whatever you want to call the music.
SHYNE: Whatever it is, it should be excellent.
VANESSA: Think about it. Everyday when you wake up, you can go online and listen to music that wasn’t there yesterday that someone threw up there from artists that they made. Doesn’t mean it’s good music. It’s just new music, right? But a couple years ago, I had to go to the store— to Canal St., to 125th St.— I had to physically leave wherever I was on a certain day, hope I caught the mixtape guy, hope I listened to the radio at the right time to listen to music. Now, I’m so spoiled that every morning when I wake up, I gotta get online and figure out which site I should go to either download or stream a full mixtape or new music from someone. And why aren’t they giving it to me on the regular for free? It’s almost like if you want to leave hip-hop for a second, you have to close the computer. There’s an element of that to it now. We’re at a hip-hop site, and everyday there’s tons of new music. And now the new thing is they’re giving you “EP’s”— it’s really just a mixtape ’cause that’s what they’re labeling it. And it used to be “my mixtape album” but it’s really just a mixtape. You’re oversaturated with stuff, so it changes the whole dynamic of how fans deal with the intake. Everybody doesn’t deal with it the same, but it’s still different than it was ten years ago, eight years ago, five years ago. And I appreciate it.
SHYNE: At the end of the day, I’m a grateful muthafucka, man. Being in the pen for 10 joints, I appreciate the…
VANESSA: You did 10 years in jail. Not a lot of people in rap sat 10 years in jail and think like you do.
SHYNE: Yeah, maybe you’re right. Maybe it does make me a little more grateful than a normal muthafucka ’cause you know what it’s like not to have. But I mean for me growing up on Wu and growing up on N.W.A, and like the greatest fuckin’ musicians ever. I guess I appreciate not having that. I appreciate not havin’ the Marvin Gaye’s and the fuckin’ Aretha Franklin’s, but I think that’s some divine shit, man. I think that’s shit that can only come about in the generations that has more of a divine connection. I think back then we were poor, in the 1970’s, 1960’s and 1950’s. The urban communities were plagued by drugs and all types of shit and I think music was a gift from God.
But not just a way out in the sense of, Here, go make some money. It was the way out in the sense of inspiration.
VANESSA: Anything else that you wanted to ask me during our interview?
SHYNE: Nah, you just threw me off. I was gon’ let you pull a gun out on some other shit, but you done pulled the gun out on some other shit.
VANESSA: What do you want me to pull the gun out on?
SHYNE: Do you think a musician has to really live what he sings about? And in hip-hop, do you think that’s a requirement? Like if a dude is talkin’ about bein’ from the streets, should he really be from the streets? Is that a requirement? Like does a guy really have to be a banger…
VANESSA: For me, yes. I know that hip-hop is not completely true, because we’ve been documenting it. I know that every thing people say is not true. I know that every guy from the street, everything that they say is not true. But I would like to believe that if you say you put that work in, you did put some work in. If you didn’t put that work in, you say that you’re an artist that you are some kind of real artist. If you say that you’re educated you are.
SHYNE: It used to be like that. Like when everybody was really tellin’ the truth without gettin’ they selves indicted, once you listen to fuckin’ Wu-Tang, or once you listen to Jigga, you knew that you could have faith in the shit that they was sayin’ and what they was representing. You always gon’ have a muthafucka that slide through the cracks. But overall, I know my heroes, they were all keepin’ it 100. All the guys that I looked to. Even Kanye. I love Kanye ’cause he’s honest.
VANESSA: I don’t think Kanye pretends to be anything he isn’t. I think he pretty much tells you what he is at this point.
SHYNE: But overall, that’s how it used to be with music. Everybody was who they were and it wasn’t so much about bein’ this image and this persona as much as it was making great music and making sure you had an image and a persona to go with that. But it was more so about the music. Now, it’s seems to be more…I don’t know. Music is the most important thing, that’s why it’s an interesting question. ’Cause I get beat up a lot for that because it’s like, ‘Yo, you know everybody ain’t gon’ be Shyne, and everybody ain’t gon’ be stand up and have integrity and live by the morals and the streets and the code. It’s not gon’ happen. So should a guy, should we not listen to his music because he’s not 100? Shouldn’t it just be great music still in all? Can you still listen to a guy even though you know everything he’s saying is just absolutely not true? And it felt like he’s telling you like after the record goin’, “I’m just a fan of gangsters. I’m just a fan of the real bangers so I make music about guys that inspired me but I never did any of this stuff, just for the record.”
I would have a easier time listening’ to a muthafucka if he said that than when a guy goes and be like, Yeah, yo, yeah, I’m from the streets. Yeah, yeah, word, word. But he’s so not any of the things he said. What do you think about that?
VANESSA: I think it’s fuckin’ crazy. You’re either from the streets, or you’re not. And if you’re not from the streets and you just wish you were, or you wanna pretend you are, that’s fuckin’ crazy. But I think that where are the people that are from the streets? Why aren’t they calling that person out? Because whoever it is, wherever they are, or whatever it is, they get away with it now. The doors open to get away with it ’cause nobody’s sayin’ anything. Why? That’s the bigger question to me.
There’s several people out there that can be talked about in this particular situation right now. It’s tough for me to call them out ‘cause I’m not from the fuckin’ streets, but I am surprised that guys from the streets haven’t said anything too much. And I think that that shows that in general in hip-hop we’ve gone to a kind of area where we’ve gone to either a subliminal place, a place where we don’t really want to diss people. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. We’ve had a lot of bad stuff happen because of beef, that’s something we discuss in this issue.
SHYNE: But I think it’s a difference…
VANESSA: You’re not saying anybody’s name right now. You’re a rapper not saying anybody’s name right now, for a reason. Not to get you started…
SHYNE: Nahhhhhhhhh, nah, nah. I’m asking you a question. There’s a time and a place for everything. You just listen to my records and you’ll see what I have to say.
VANESSA: Yeah, but I think…
SHYNE: Listen! Let me answer the question. You tried to put me on blast, let me answer the question. I’m not a bully. So I don’t believe in taking advantage of people per se, though I do have my feelings on this issue. And you know that when people listen to my music, they’ll hear me talkin’ about it and how I feel about the situation. But it’s not that important for me in the sense of callin’ a muthafucka name. I don’t think about muthafuckas like that. And they don’t matter that much to me. But I won’t do a record with anybody that’s not who they say they are. I won’t do a record with a muthafucka that’s gettin’ on the stand. I won’t do no record with no cops, no shit like that. I’m not doin’ that. And that’s just personal. I won’t do it, I won’t talk to them, I wont talk to them, I won’t fuck with them, I won’t look at them, I’ll keep it movin’ and have nothin’ to do with them. That’s just some personal shit.
And I don’t necessarily believe I need to be in the magazine sayin’ this person and sayin’ that person. That’s none of my business. I don’t give a fuck what them dudes do to that extent. It matters to me that I won’t fuck with them. And if I see any of my little brothers or any of big brothers fuckin’ with them, I’ll be checkin’ them. I’ll be callin’ them like, “Yo, what the fuck is you doin’? That’s not where we from, we don’t do that. We don’t talk to those guys. They can’t hang out with us.’
My approach is always to handle shit the way it’s supposed to be handled. ’Cause, you know, these muthafuckas is tellin’ on muthafuckas and you fuck around and get indicted with these dudes. So that’s why I don’t really be callin’ out names like that. ’Cause these muthafuckas’ll fuck around and tell on me. And I’ll probably never be able to come back to New York. So that’s why I really don’t be sayin’ nobody names. ’Cause I’m not really a rapper. If there’s a problem, I’ma handle it. So I don’t really wanna be puttin’ shit out there like that because that’ll be used as evidence against me. And that was already done. So particularly, that’s why I don’t do it. So I feel the way I handle it, is you’ll never see me fuckin’ with none of them dudes. You will never see me shakin’ they hand, nothin’. I won’t be in they video, they can’t be in my video, nothin’.